Skip to main content

tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  November 22, 2013 7:00am-10:01am EST

7:00 am
paul gregory, who was a family friend of lee harvey oswald, will be our guest. >> today, the important distinction is not between democrats and republicans. it is between those who are willing to break the gridlock in washington and those who defend the status quo. is the senate working now? can anyone say the senate is working now? i do not think so. >> when democrats were in the minority, they argued strenuously for the thing that they say we will have to do without. namely, the right to extended debate on lifetime appointments. in other words, they believe that one set of rules should -- ando them, to them
7:01 am
another set to everybody else. ♪ that morning. the exchange yesterday on the senate floor between senate leader mcconnell and read. it is being called historic and dramatic. changing the filibuster rules for nominees to the federal court and cap network level appointees. this has followed years of debate on the nuclear option. it has created sharp words by democrats and republicans. we will begin with an explanation on why it is happening now and what it means for congress and the white house. it is friday, november 22. the date etched in the minds of those of you old enough to remember where you were 50 years ago. president obama is calling this a day of her membranes for john f. kennedy. the flag at the u.s. capitol is half-staff. a tribute to our president who died in dallas a half-century
7:02 am
ago. this is the scene at arlington national cemetery. the final resting place for president kennedy and members of his family. we are focusing on both of these stories. we want to begin on the issue of the nuclear option. the senate action -- we want to hear from you. the numbers are on your screen. join us on facebook, send us an e-mail come a or send us a tweet. let's take a look at some of the headlines from the l.a. times. here in washington is the front page. the senate curbs the filibuster. that is the story above the fold. there is this from the dallas morning news. his courage still inspires us. the kids of 1963.
7:03 am
this is available online at their website. story might imagine, the in the u.s. senate -- it eliminates filibusters on most nominees. here are the details. dramatic step the of eliminating filibusters for most nominations by presidents. they say this was necessary to fix a broken system. republicans say it will rupture it for her. democrats used a rare parliamentary move. appointments can advance confirmation votes by a simple majority. simple 60 vote majority has been the standard. shane has been following this and he joins us live on the phones. caller: good morning. host: why now? why did they decide to take up this measure? caller: a couple of key reasons.
7:04 am
he reread his growingly frustrated. reid is frustrated. number two, he had the votes. he decided to act. republicans are taken aback that he decided to pull the trigger. -- walked up to the nuclear option before. he did this pretty quickly. ultimately, we have the votes and he prevailed. host: if you log onto c- span.org, you can find a different point of view. back in 2005, when the situation was reversed, the senate was controlled by republicans. at that point, mitch mcconnell was threatening to use the nuclear option. reid said that was going to be foul.
7:05 am
now the situation is different. caller: the irony is that everybody is a hypocrite. at some point, everyone has been on the opposite side. mitch mcconnell has an op-ed in the usa today. he quotes joe biden on the changing of the rules. he calls it a power grab. you do not have to go back years and years. reid did not want this to apply to judges. he repeated that over and over. yesterday, they decided to do that. that is a key element here. --y left out legislation continue to filibuster legislation. who can say the republicans will not change the next question mark -- ? if you start changing the rules
7:06 am
mid-game, you are changing the future. it longtime republican senator of iowa says it is an arms war. it does change the shape of the senate. for everyone. host: as we heard from senator harry reid, he made the comment -- does anyone think the senate is currently working? you see de-escalation of the president's nominees that have been the source of filibuster. there has definitely been a dramatic increase. decided tocans have use this tool amongst cash almost all the time. it takes 60ide, votes at this point. there have been major bills that cannot get through, nominations that have been stalled.
7:07 am
this will change things in the immediate term dramatically. is thert of appeals court that deals with the legality of executive actions. deadlocked. is republicans control house. the president is clear that he wants to do more protective actions. they are not saying whether it is legal or not. the democrats go from being a minority to having a strong majority. host: if you are joining us on c-span radio, which is just -- we just heard -- we are hearing from shane. the senate is recessing for the thanksgiving holiday. what does this mean for the nominees? who will be first up for a vote in the senate? caller: they will start clearing
7:08 am
the decks of all of the stalled nominations. chief among them are appointees to the d c circuit court. in terms of getting appointments, this is 7-4. another is mel watt, from south carolina. the housing authority. they want new rules to make it easier for americans to get credit to get housing. where appointees ship is critical as the federal reserve. janet yellen is moving toward confirmation. there are other appointees. this is a huge shift. there is a huge amount of authority that obama will have. not only for those seats, but he will not face huge, lengthy fights. he will have the chance to get
7:09 am
the people he wants. host: shane is on the national journal. his work is available online. thank you for adding your perspective to the story today. caller: thank you for having me on. host: we are looking at a lot of stories. --luding mitch mcconnell they left the senate floor and met with reporters. there is a photograph of chuck schumer. he has been a strong supporter of invoking the nuclear option. the increase in nominees that has been held up as a result of republican filibusters -- let's dig into the editorial pages. this is from this morning's wall street journal. the title is senate rules or radical democrats. true, both parties have misused the advice and consent power.
7:10 am
it is harder for the executive branch to govern. the irony is that the democrats voted to end the practice when george w. bush was president. 2005,nority from 2003 two they demanded a 60 votes to confirm. the folder lining is that the filibuster will work for conservatives as well. republicans should employ the same weapon. thatrats are pretending they're only breaking the filibuster for lower court nominees, not for the supreme court. they can dream on. us on thejoining phone from birmingham, alabama. democrats line. caller: good morning. how are you? i am so glad. it is about time that the
7:11 am
democrats woke up and did something. it really is. mitch mcconnell, i do not want to hear anything he has to say. all, tohe one, first of say he would make president obama a one term president. it is about time that the democrats in the senate stood up and stopped the republicans from trying to stop all of the nominees. -- i am going to ruffle feathers this morning -- he has been so disrespected. as a black person, i am so offended by the disrespect that he gets from the republicans. host: let me ask you this. we have had this before. is it an issue of race or is it the politics? caller: i'm sorry. i know that people will get offended by this. i am offended that my president is being treated this way.
7:12 am
as a black person, no one can feel the sting of race. we know subtle statements. --e chris matthews republicans are trying to erase barack obama. i am offended. host: thank you for the call. tj has this point. the democrats will go nuclear on legislation. it is clear that obama hates the usa. send us your tweets. above the fold in the new york times, the senate works to curb full buster rules. accuse democrats of a power grab. john joining us on the republican line from annapolis, maryland.
7:13 am
caller: good morning. flabbergasted at this administration. obamas strictly an action. the senate is not working for anybody but the obama agenda. this is what we got with obamacare. the reason why they are having so much obstruction is that the man's agenda is foul. it is wrong. it is so socialistic. it has to have some checks and balances. this is just getting out of control. here he read is nothing but a puppet. as is nancy pelosi. these folks think that there is one agenda in this government. that is what they're trying to do.
7:14 am
i do not know how to put it. this man is really not my president anymore. it has nothing to do with race. i would be more than proud to have the likes of ben cardin or allen west or condoleezza rice or colin powell -- any one of these black individuals, who would have principles that are founded in the basis of our constitution. host: thank you for the call. many of you are already weighing in. we will share with you some of your comments. the senate is invoking the nuclear option. your thoughts? jennifer says wow, i thought they were against this. sick of them all. darla says republicans are not the bad guys. and barry says it is a naked power grab. democratshis tweet --
7:15 am
never follow the rules. this is all available online at hill.com. senator cruz is the leading critic. he announced this as a scheme to save the health law. the heart of this action is directed at attacking the d c circuit court. that is the court that will review obama's behavior. senator cruz says that the rule to pack theesigned court with judges who will be a rubber stamp. john is joining us from pennsylvania on the independent line. caller: good morning. it is about time that here he read got off his but ended this. reid got off his
7:16 am
butt and did this. it is about time. it would be nice to get things done. obama won the election. the democrats have the majority in the senate. they should have the privilege of picking the people they would like to serve. norquistack to grover and his thing about not letting democrats rule as democrats. even if they win elections. -- thank goodness harry reid finally got some guts. i hope the representatives do the same thing. host: vivien echoes your sentiment and sense of his tweet. what i would like to say is thank you harry reid.
7:17 am
let's go back to the newspapers. this is the washington post. after the senate filibuster vote, both artists will face nasty repercussions. the rules change the legislative body in a fundamental way and for the worse. republicans unjustified recalcitrance provoked the change. the radical action is a product of poisonous partisanship. it will accelerate the partisanship on capitol hill. a future republican majority will use this to change procedures when it gets in the majority. next is mike from georgia. democratic line. caller: good morning. harry ry, i think that eid does something to make me admire him even more.
7:18 am
if anyone is to blame, it has to be much mcconnell. the factlso include that you cannot see your desk from your office. on a filibuster, you have to come out to the floor and show everybody how ridiculous you are. it is about time. i am so glad. he used this to change the supreme court nominees. let them do it when they have the chance. democrats will have an opportunity as well to gain power and make changes. the american people elected barack obama. you may not like his policies, but he was elected by the american people. he should lead the way he wants to lead. host: we will get a republican point of view from wisconsin. lori is on the phone. caller: good morning. i am pretty disappointed with what happened here. i had a feeling that what we saw
7:19 am
yesterday is the start of a lot of friction between republicans and democrats. if you go back to what was said -- government is not the solution. it is the problem. this nuclear option that has been employed is going to escalate. it will be able to withstand the damage that this has done to our constitution. that is all i have to say. host: thank you for the call. this from our viewers, saying that republicans were always going to change the rules. they do not need prompting by the enemy. stephen has some perspective from the other end of pennsylvania avenue. the presidents of to reporters following the senate action. we carry this live on c-span 2. he backs the nuclear option. the president says that ending
7:20 am
the filibusters is a push for a broader use to stall legislation. is that the next up? here's more from the president yesterday. [video clip] that theyrt the steps used to change the way washington is doing business. more specifically, the way the senate does business. what was determined is that it standingstore the long- tradition of considering judicial and public service nominations on a more routine basis. here is why this is important. president's constitutional responsibilities is to nominate individuals within the executive and judicial branches. over the decades before i took office. --only a few positions had to overcome filibusters. in just under five years, nearly 30 nominees have been treated
7:21 am
this year. way. these are all public servants who protect our national security. republicans filibustered against the secretary of defense. he used to be republican senator. they tried everything they could to hold up the epa administrator. they blocked our nominee for our top housing regulator. this is a time when we need more help for families to afford a home and prevent what has caused mortgage meltdowns from happening again. in each of these cases, it has not been because they opposed the person. that there was some assessment that they were unqualified. that there had been some scandal. theys simply because opposed the policies that the american people voted for in the last election. host: that was the president yesterday afternoon.
7:22 am
this editorial from the new york times -- democracy returns to the senate. another op-ed on the senate action. there are and must blockade's from republicans. there is this from the new york times. the only exceptions to nominations for which the filibuster would be allowed -- now that the senate has begun to tear down undemocratic procedures. the president says this will increase the pressure to end filibusters altogether. next is bill from georgia. independent line. caller: good morning. i would like to say that this is the beginning of the end. host: why is that? caller: let me just finish it we have the tear any of the executive branch. they can nominate people. there will be no check. they can nominate whoever they want.
7:23 am
this happened previously. in england, during the 16 40s. people remember how that ended in civil war. the king was eventually -- lost to ted. this is just a disaster. there will be no checks or balances, nothing. what goes around comes around. we will see what happens. this may end up being a complete disaster. then next thing will be taking away guns from people. the president will push through to reduce the second amendment. at this rate, who knows what will happen. that is all have to say. thank you. host: thank you for the call. one viewer says it is not hard to imagine how democrats may become collateral damage. on our facebook page, some of your comments. darla says that we have gone
7:24 am
from a democracy to socialism overnight. this from glenn -- odd that they labeled it tear any. -- tyranny. linda says it will all come back to bite them. just some of your comments on our facebook page. vegas: a viewer from las on the democratic line. good morning. good morning. host: you're on the air. caller: i am so happy. everybody comes to the u.s. to have freedom. they fight like babies. everything makes me angry. i came from ethiopia 34 years ago. these people fight like little babies.
7:25 am
i am an american citizen. and makes me angry. yesterday, this is so bad. how can this happen again? all of this kind of misery. this is america. host: we appreciate the call from las vegas. we got this tweet. some competing editorials this morning from the washington post. eugene robinson writes that it is time to go nuclear. arry.o make them, h long past time for invoking the nuclear option. this is not about partisan politics. it is about making it the world's most liberty of body function. a different point of view from
7:26 am
ruth, below that. the democrats went too far. senate democrats made an understandable mistake. they curtail the use of the filibuster. it is understandable because republicans all but forced their hand. the move was a mistake. you can read both pieces online at washington post's website. debbie, good morning. caller: i do want to say something. as an american, our leaders lied to us. not just on obamacare. we do not have leaders. we have manipulators. as a citizen, i want our government to work for all of the people. not just a group of people. a certain group has the majority. going away from the
7:27 am
projection of the people. they are giving more power to the government. if people do not wake up, what we did yesterday is not going to be the end. whenever a majority has the rule, that is the way that the forefathers to find it. it was to make sure that the president did not have the ability to become a tyrant. guess what? obama is not only a liar, he is a tyrant. one of the things i want to say about the obamacare website -- nobody is covering. daughter ises' married to one of the ceos that the company. three of the other executives went to school with obama. this whole administration is cronyism. there needs to be an investigation. they have been talking to iran on the phone for two years.
7:28 am
there is a lot of nonsense going on. host: debbie from houston, texas. a story related to the affordable care act from politico -- another deadline being extended beyond the midterm elections. you can read details online. hhs to delay the obamacare enrollment by a month. pushing it beyond the midterm elections. there is this from times magazine -- broken promise. what it means for this presidency. it carries a picture of an aspirin and obamacare. -- next is john from florida what does this mean? caller: i have to agree with a lot of your callers. this is one of the most foolish ideas i have ever seen. if the senate wants to act like the congress, than i do not see
7:29 am
a need for the senate whatsoever. the party who is in power in the house is the same party as the executive branch, then we do not need them either. this is a very foolish mistake by the democrats. they will rue the day that they did this. they say it only involves the federal judges. thishat they have opened door, this could apply to anybody. they can change the rules and any game. whether this legislation, justices -- they have already opened the door. this can happen anywhere. this is a terrible idea. host: john from north carolina. and there is this on our twitter page -- today,nt page of usa
7:30 am
there is this piece. this signals a cold war in congress. if you thought the partisan warfare could not get worse, think again. it just did. the drive-by democrats to change confirmation brought a volley of invective. reid aul called harry big bully. the move represents the most fundamental change in procedures in decades. every republican voted against the new role. three democrats joined them. the next call is tommy, nashville, tennessee. caller: good morning, america. it is a shame that we had to get this far.
7:31 am
the blame really does lay at the feet of the republicans, who ist. been destruction not just to obstruct, but to nullify the election. the president has the constitutional right and duty. the senate has the obligation to vote. not to block or obstruct. that is not what that is for. i wish the republicans would learn some civility. and some law and the constitution. there are a lot of things that have been said this morning. we actually are a democratic republic. to aan, one vote representative. that is the way we work. host: thank you for the call. it is the bottom of the hour. if you are just joining us, we're are getting our calls and comments.
7:32 am
the development is being called germanic and historian. 2 carried this live on c-span yesterday. another rule essentially changing is on the front page of usa today. they are reviewing a 22 year ban against cell phone calls. they claim that sell used may take flight. the republican, later, had this to say about the senate vote. [video clip] the majority leader promised -- he promised over and over again that he would not break the rules of the senate. this is not an agent promised. -- he4 on meet the press said we are not touching judges. 14, we are not touching judges.
7:33 am
then there are the double standards. when democrats were in the minority, they argued strenuously for the very thing they now say we will have to do without. namely, the right to extended debate on lifetime appointments. in other words, they believe that one set of roles should -- ando them, to them another set to everybody else. the comments of mitch mcconnell. robert says i have never seen so many people against majority rules. this is hilarious. and there is this from our facebook page. linda says that will come back to bite them. sean says this will come back around. jeffrey says what goes around comes around. david hawkins is following all of us. he joins us in the newsroom.
7:34 am
guest: good morning. host: why -- what does this mean short-term and long-term? also, the potential of legislation in the next three years. guest: i think the answer to the timing was that mr. reid finally pulled it off. that was in doubt until the last few days. he picked up a few key supporters. diane feinstein has been against quite some time. she was persuaded that the situation will not be any better. she was brought aboard. it is a classic case of the first role of legislative politics. if you have the votes, call the vote. he did and he did. in terms of what happened next, there's a lot of fear among republicans.
7:35 am
the democrats will be prepared ondo this rules change legislation sooner or later. the absence of a filibuster on all nominees, except the supreme court, seems difficult for republicans to found him. athom. f republicans were clearly annoyed by this. they were furious. they essentially decided to put a stop to any further debate on the defense authorization bill. the recess has now begun. this is a bill that has passed 52 years in a row. cast doubt on whether that record will be maintained. republicans were clearly going to show that they were not going to back away from the filibuster legislation. host: i will come back to that
7:36 am
point. clearly, where you stand depends on where you sit. it was a different situation in 80 years ago when the democrats were in the minority. you had a different hearing read -- harry reid saying he was opposed to changing senate rules. our all hands dirty? guest: absolutely. you also have mitch mcconnell reading from the opposite grips. each of them has read from one another's script before. many of the viewers will remember the spring of 2005. the senate got within a few and mitchill frist mcconnell making the same move that harry reid made yesterday. hourt was only at the last that a so-called gang of 14
7:37 am
agreed that they would oppose the filibuster access -- like this. all would oppose filibusters of judges, except in extraordinary circumstances. along judicial confirmations through the rest of the bush administration and into the obama administration until about two years ago. host: and this will involve 1100 cap net or sub cabinet level positions. i want to go back to this chart from the new york times. let's get some historical perspective. you can see a handful of senate selectors. -- filibusters. there is a steady increase or in the reagan and bush administrations. it reached 90 during the clinton administration.
7:38 am
now, it is in excess of 120. can you respond to these numbers? guest: those numbers are true. what they amount to, the democrats like to point out -- if you add up all of the mounteders that were against the nominees of previous presidents, they essentially equal the amount that have been used against president obama's nominees. christmashat is the est number that they can come up with. saying that it is time. there is no turning back. what is important to note is that the democrats have said this will come back to bite them. it is a certainty that the
7:39 am
republicans will run the senate again. at some point, partisan control will change. has been a big advocate of this. they say that yes, we are ready for that. we understand that turnabout will be fair play. they're willing to live with that. that is today's script. maybe they will change their mind. that is their stated point of view. they're willing to run the risk that when they are in the minority, they will lose their ability to stop a republican president from filling out his executive branch the way he or she sees fit. host: stay with us. we want to talk about what it means for legislative agendas in the year ahead. most notably, with gun control. let me just share a couple of headlines. this is from the washington times.
7:40 am
this is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of john of entity. next that headline, the democrats go nuclear. carl is joining us from west virginia. republican line. caller: good morning. i thought it was a dangerous move when republicans were talking about doing this. i am still of that opinion. instead of having three equal branches of government, now the executive branch will be dominant. move, pure andr simple. obama knows that if he packs the d c circuit, he can rule by executive order. he can bypass congress on just about everything. one thing that i do not understand is how he can change the law of this affordable care act. the law was passed by congress.
7:41 am
now he can top what he wants out of it. he can keep what he wants. this formnderstand. of government is being turned upside down. it is getting to be dangerous. one more thing. a real smear when someone called you a racist. some of these african-americans are really watering that term down. to the point where it has no meaning. was happy when we elected an african-american for president. my lord, let's not call this racist. thank you. host: bill king has this -- if voters want to conserve the justices, we would have elected romney. republicans do not get that. anet yellen -- she was facing
7:42 am
senate panel. now her nomination is going to the full senate. her leadership as an almost done deal. we want to bring your attention to this op-ed in the wall street journal. her greatest challenge. the senatethat approved her nomination to lead the federal reserve -- her confirmation is virtually assured. what is less certain is what she intends to do with quantitative easing. now entering its 34th month. they say that she has maintained qe, but does she have an exit strategy? the fed needs one. the stakes not be higher. every month or goes on, the exit strategy grows more difficult and more dangerous. our next call is paul from akron, ohio. independent line. -- we: it is interesting
7:43 am
had at one point in time a democratic republic. now we have mob rule. believe what these people are talking about. it is going to come back to bite the democrats. i do not see that happening. we do not have the courts packs. what they will do is take it to the courts. over,he republicans take of course the democrats will find -- the courts will find in the democrats favor. it will not hurt the democrats. host: ok. derek from tampa, florida. caller: hello. i want to say that, what the democrats did was not breaking the law. the constitution gives the senate and the house power. they set their own rules.
7:44 am
why can't people understand that? democrats have the power. they set their own president. they can change them at any time. also, this idea that obama is an illegitimate president. i am from florida. -- he won the get election, overwhelmingly. he is the american people's resident. i do not believe that everyone is racist against obama. the spirit in washington is so foul, then no matter which democrat is in office, republicans have decided that they will tear them down. i do not believe that there racist. i do not push the notion that all. i do not believe this is all of our race. goingso foul that they're to make an example out of obama. host: and molly from california.
7:45 am
good morning. caller: good morning. this remark that you made -- first of all, we keep hearing the republicans are stopping things. , job bills, bills to the senate. harry reid would not allow them to come to a vote. both parties have a dirty hand. why don't you say what president obama said about this being done -- what a horrible thing. true.ing if you want your own doctor, you can keep your doctor. this is all getting attention off of obamacare. they are so blind and so arrogant. this is going to get much worse. we're going to lose 100 million policies. this is why he put off --
7:46 am
everything is hiding it. we're talking about this now. it is to get the heat off of that arrogant president in the white house. these judges, we know they have a plan -- the whole reason they have done this is because he wants to fill up his courts. republicans are not obstructionist. god bless them. we are all watching. when he said about this very act -- it is filed. both sides are dirty. now, harry reid is doing it. everyone is puzzling up. republicans did not do it. host: thank you for the call. other news organizations have used -- these are all in the c- span video library.
7:47 am
obamawed you what senator and senators reid and mcconnell have said in the past. you can check that out on your own at c-span.org. our last call is from new york. independent line. good morning. caller: good morning. first, i think that this is a necessary action. i do think it will come back to hot the democrats. the other caller -- the republicans involve the civil war, but that is ok. host: thank you for the call. we want to take you to the senate floor and more from yesterday's discussion. the man behind it -- some are now calling it the reid rule. [video clip] >> to the average american, this is common sense. this is not about democrat first republicans.
7:48 am
it is about making washington work regardless of who is in the white house. relevant, the senate must evolve to meet the challenges of the modern era. i have no doubt that my republican colleagues argue the fault is ours. no one's hands are entirely clean on this issue. today, the important distinction is not between democrats and republicans. it is between those who are willing to help break the gridlock in washington and those who defend the status quo. is the senate working now? can anyone say the senate is working now? i do not think so. democrats and independents are saying enough is enough. host: from the senate floor yesterday, senator harry reid. let's rejoin david hawkings.
7:49 am
we know what it means for judicial nominees outside of the supreme court. what about legislation? in the roleeory, that was changed yesterday -- it was upheld by that vote, it only applies to nominations except for the supreme court. in theory, and as we have seen in practice, filibusters are preserved. the republicans did mount a filibuster. we think that when they come back from their thanksgiving break in early december, they will relax that and the bill will lurch ahead. we are not sure. we think that there is absolutely the believe among some republicans -- people that
7:50 am
i have talked to, that the only way to punish the democrats for their move yesterday is to intensify their willingness to filibuster almost all legislation. the democrats saw that coming. they have ultimately concluded strategically that there is not much legislation coming down the pike between now and the midterm election. they absolutely, positively have to get through. they're willing to take that risk a. host: the house is in a pro forma session. but get a look at the calendar going through december. guest: the houses in pro forma. they come back december 2. comes back the following monday or tuesday, the ninth. they get back on that defense bill. there's precious little legislation i can think of that
7:51 am
the house is trying to do between now and the end of the year. except come up with some kind of solution on spending. as you know, there are negotiations going on -- budget conference with paul ryan. they are not getting very far. the working expectation is that it is best between now and the middle of december, which is their deadline, the best thing they could come up with would be a number or overall discretionary said bending -- spending. it seems that the odds are against them. meanwhile, boehner is trying to figure out if he can win enough votes in the house for a continuing resolution. before the holidays. the continuing resolution we are under now lasts until january
7:52 am
15. speaker boehner would just as soon have congress update that with a spending bill the last until the end of the year so that members could go home for the holidays. there is no sign that he has found the magic number. the number that republicans will vote for. a legislation that would affirm the sequester. is supposed to drop by $20 billion in january. like his republicans to vote for just an acting that and getting behind it. they are not willing to do so. members of the appropriations committee think that is in them practically low number. host: we are going to shift
7:53 am
attention to another piece that you wrote. how the capital turned the day the jfk died. we will get to that in just a moment. want to share with you the headlines 50 years ago tomorrow. this from the baltimore sun -- kennedy murdered by a sniper. johnson sworn in as 36th president. from independents the surrey -- independents, misery -- independ -- presidenti harry truman issued this statement. this is from the baltimore sun printed 50 years ago. 50 years ago on monday, this headline from the new york times. at the casket inside
7:54 am
tol. formerpi first lady's jackie kennedy is at the casket. this is how the story unfolded on nbc news. the breaking developments in the afternoon of november 22, 1963. [video clip] >> white house press secretary has just announced that died att kennedy approximately 1:00 central standard time. that is 35 minutes ago. after being shot by an unknown assailant. during a motorcade drive through downtown dallas. frank mcgee with that news. but initial phone problems, you could hear the reporter on
7:55 am
the scene at the time. editionfrom a special of usa today. 50 years later, tragedy, memories, and hope live on. coverage, thehe nbc bureau had this to say about how washington was reacting to the news. [video clip] flag at half mast outside of our studios here in washington. we assume that the flag at the white house is at half mast in the same way. all over this capital city of the united states, wherever the american flag flies, it has been -- as ato half mast to center for specs for the president of the united states. we have very little news. the reaction in washington -- it happened suddenly. there has been very little opportunity for real reaction. senator mansfield has made no
7:56 am
statement. speaker mccormick is now in the position related to lyndon -- he has made no statement. nor has the senate minority leader. nor has the senate with. -- whip. senator humphrey was informed by his aide at lunch. his voice cracked several times. he seems completely numb. he was unable to make a response and said he would be back to his office. i am told by an aide of senator ted kennedy, who is en route to , that with his brother when senator kennedy was informed of this he said not a word. he laid down the gavel where he
7:57 am
was presiding over the senate, quietly stepped down, and proceeded to leave the chamber. the senate went into immediate adjournment. courtesy of nbc news. the flags today are also at half staff. the proclamation was issued by president obama to pay tribute to john f. kennedy, 50 years after his assassination. the live scene from arlington national cemetery and the gravesite. -- 50 years ago fell on a friday. the senate was in session. ironically, the 31-year-old senator from massachusetts, ted kennedy was presiding at that moment. guest: that is right. as many of your viewers know, being the presiding officer is more of a chore than a position of power.
7:58 am
the power in the senate resides with the two floor leaders. being in the chair is pretty ceremonial. sign -- islways is a assigned to a freshman. he was one of 10 a freshman in that class. he was the youngest of the bunch at 31 years old. hort strahl s and was presiding at the lunch hour. as was typical, there was no roll call vote that day. they started preliminary debate on legislation the following week. there was some pulmonary debate going on. this was 20 minutes after the shots were fired. a messenger came in and informed senator kennedy as the -- i had never seen that before. that was a moving bit of footage. it happened just like that. he slipped out of the room.
7:59 am
a general hubbub ensued. a guy named winston from vermont was giving a speech about library construction. said, woulde morse the senator yield for an emergency. that got everyone's attention. they went into a quorum call. there is nothing else when there is general hubbub. that was when the word filtered through. what is fascinating to me is that, in this day of social media, it really did take a long time for the capital to get word. host: let me ask you about what happened after that. a lot of preparation was needed to come together rather quickly for the return of the body of president kennedy. and also for his burial on monday. a very hectic for days, but one that was filled with pomp and pageantry. guest: sort of amazing for me to
8:00 am
watch this footage and then to have been reminded how the his mid- was a man in 40s -- he had no request for his funerals. no preparations had been made for his funeral. unlike today where presidents have files on hand for the military. the commanders put these funerals together. so the whole thing had to be done on the fly and at a time of extreme grief and shock. mrs. kennedy, who had a keen sense of history and aesthetics, let it be known early on that she would like the funeral to emulate that of president lincoln. in the time it took for the body to get back from dallas and then out to the naval hospital for the autopsy, various curators at
8:01 am
the white house spring into action, went to the library of congress in the middle of that night and pulled out some records that showed how the east room in the white house had been decorated. by the time the body arrived at the white house on saturday morning, the east room had been made to look very similar to the way it was when lincoln's body arrived at the east room in 1865. then over the weekend, the military was able to put together a full state funeral with the largest number of world leaders to come to one funeral decades,rld in several sort of an amazing amount of planning that happened on the fly. the fact that it looked so crisp and well-planned is sort of an amazing thing. david hawkings and a look
8:02 am
at how washington, d.c., and capitol hill reacted to the news on friday, november 22, 1960 three. david hawkings, thank you for being with us. we will continue if your reflections on the kennedy assassination and the events unfolded. how the country changed on that date. the "washington journal" continues in a moment. richard reeves is going to join us. he is the editor of the book "the kennedy years here koh friday, november 22, 2013. ♪ >> this weekend, american history tv looks back at the assassination of jfk and its aftermath with eyewitness accounts. scenes from the president's trip to texas and memory -- commemorative events from dealey
8:03 am
plaza. also, your chance to vote -- talk to authors and historians author.allas 1963" co- coverage continues sunday with lyndon johnson's address to congress. questions live with an lbj biographer and historian. and then news coverage of president kennedy's state funeral. remembering jfk on american history tv this weekend on c- span3. >> i thought it was fun to have a little view of history of a time in america that was not instructional. first and foremost, it was a little bit more anecdotal and actually a little bit more
8:04 am
archaeological, meaning random. you see bunches of weird photos and then the captions explain them. i had a vision of high school students flipping through them and loving history if they flipped through it. the big picture, sunday night at 8:00 on c-span's q&a. >> "washington journal" continues. the eternal flame at arlington national cemetery and the gravesite of our 35th president john f. kennedy. joining us from new york is richard reeves, general editor of the book "the kennedy years." guest: thank you for being with us. guest:thanks -- guest: thanks for having me. host: where does the idea of the eternal flame come from? got me, i do not
8:05 am
know. i guess there was an eternal flame at the arc in paris. that is probably where mrs. kennedy got the idea. it was her idea. host: as we look at the evidence from 50 years ago, one of the fascinating stories -- and i talk to david hawkings a moment ago, was how they prepared for the funeral which was completely unexpected, yet taking a page from the assassination of president lincoln a century before. , people int government handle that situation well. and i think that david hawkings pointed to the role that mrs. kennedy had in all that. it was obvious that history was what was on her mind. i want to share with you some of the moments following the assassination of president kennedy. this is between the air force
8:06 am
one cockpit pilot and andrews air force base, discussing president kennedy's body and how it should be transported when it arrived in washington, d.c. this was late in the day 50 years ago. what arrangements have been made for the president? everybody aboard air force one, everyone aboard air force one with the exception of the into the be choppered self ground. to body will be choppered the naval medical center in openoffice to. over? >> [inaudible] >> will be choppered. choppered. [inaudible]
8:07 am
supposed to go to walter reed. arrangements are already made. >> say again, say again, doctor. >> the body is in a casket, you know. it will have to be taken by ambulance and not by chopper. host: that exchange between andrews air force base and air force one. a you listen to that, you get sense of the chaotic atmosphere as people are trying to get information and figure out who had to do what. think so., i i think they did extraordinarily well in doing that. washington is a city that stood for ceremony, and this was the
8:08 am
greatest ceremony of our lifetime, even greater than an inauguration. host: we have been seeing so many moments from walter cronkite and others announcing the death of resident kennedy. i want to share with you in the president's hometown of boston, there was an afternoon procession, the boston symphony orchestra, and the leader of the orchestra broke in with this news. let's watch. clip] >> ladies and gentlemen, we have a press report over the wires. we hope this is unconfirmed but we have to doubt it. the president of the united states has been the victim of an assassination. [gasps] play the funeral march from beethoven. [gasps]
8:09 am
what a dramatic moment from 50 years ago. richard reeves, have you seen or heard that before? and i knew him. but i did not realize that had happened. isust say that that clip really moving. and the people, i suppose that the people into that crowd at the concert kind of represented a microcosm of the nation and the nation's response to something that we never thought would come our way again. host: where were you 50 years ago? guest: 50 years ago i was a evening on the newark news in new jersey. i did with the suppose every reporter in the country did,
8:10 am
jump in my car and get down to the office which was in morristown, new jersey it was one of those situations where we had nothing to do with it, so what we were doing was getting reaction. i was with the mayor of moorestown and the democratic chairman of the county in new jersey. i went to their office which happened to be in the same building. he was near tears. i was not near tears because i was working, but there was a window washer outside the window doing windows, and he cannot hear us. he was waving and smiling to us, and we did not respond the way he thought we would. at that moment, he was probably the only person in the country that did not know what had happened. host: we're talking with richard
8:11 am
reeves, general editor of this book "the kennedy years," which came out on the assassination of president kennedy. what new have you learned since then? well, in my own life i have learned a great deal about the presidency. i have not yet begun to write president kennedy profile of power, so it was all a learning experience for me over eight years while i worked on that book. and the things that most howessed me were i realized much of a cultural figure john kennedy was, which is one of the reasons we are here talking thet this now, and also presidency itself is a reactive job.
8:12 am
i mean, it is an active state. because the 40-all people know what the job is like, but it is not all like what they campaign for and prepare for. again and again, they are reacting to events unforeseen. and we are dependent to a large .xtent on one man's judgment not so much as background but his judgment and how you deal with a situation from oil spills to invasions to the arab spring. that does not change about the job, and that is one of the things i learned about a job. , as i didy himself that i realized that this is commemorated again and again, not so much because people are aware of the things
8:13 am
that happened in his presidency. many of them very dramatic. but they understood that he was -- he kind of brought us into modernity. he was quite different from many of us. he was rich. he just differently. he had long hair. and soon all american men stopped wearing hats, as he did, and they were letting their crew cuts grow out. they were role models, he and his wife, to the modern american. and -- he was a self-selected president. he never would have become president under the old system of bosses and inventions. theent out and won it with press and with organizations tiered he set up in every state he then won the primaries.
8:14 am
would not wait his turn, and i think now most americans will not wait their turn, which is why our institutions are always being battered by ambitious younger people. restinhat is what james wrote in the new york times in 1963, and you reprinted it in your book along with the photograph of the flag-draped casket. he is gone now at 46, younger than when most presidents have started on their great adventure. one point from your book is the the nation then weekend after his assassination and that monday during the funeral services. why? guest: i think it was a death in the family. people were in shock. they did not know what to say or do about it. and it was this extraordinary
8:15 am
spectacle of millions of people having lost someone they considered they knew. host: richard reeves, i want to jump and for moment. we want to show the scene at arlington cemetery. this is the royal highland regiment, the british bagpipers. they are performing live now at the kennedy gravesite. music]e ♪
8:16 am
8:17 am
host: from arlington national cemetery, two british bagpipers, part of the royal highland regiment. we continue our live coverage here on c-span. we are joined by richard reeves, general editor of "the kennedy years." i did not mean to interrupt you. i just wanted to get that moment live here on c-span. back to your thoughts. guest: it was a death in the wasly in a way that televisual and -- television was in our living room. most of us watched hour after hour after hour and then came jack ruby killing oswald, and we were kind of numb.
8:18 am
it was one of the first times we were overloaded with information and with grief. member of the "washington later a senator from new york, and he said these two irish icons, and mary said we will never smile again. moynahan said we will smile again but we will never be young again. i think that is the way it it -- the way it affected the end of this generation's youth and of the nation's innocence. it just cannot happen to us, but it did. the "washington post" has a sketch of the scene and dealey plaza along elm street in dallas, texas, a dark day in american presidency. one part of the story is the tragedy forever change the accessibility of presidents,
8:19 am
most notably that open air car that we will never see again. because the kennedy administration and the president himself really had created a culture of assassination. i mean, the whole world knew we were trying to kill castro. we provided a weapon spec killed someone and the domain -- in need dominican republic just before kennedy took office. an official of-- the congo had been assassinated. people kind of took for granted that that is what governments did. again, on the american side, we thought we were immune when, in fact, our leader was the least protected in the world. , of coarse, has all
8:20 am
changed. one of the things that strikes me about the pictures we used in that era was there was one particular picture of kennedy 'olding a couple of his nephews hands and little caroline' hands crossing the street in hyannisport with the cars stopped and ordinary citizens around them. of course, that will never come back. we put our presidents in a cocoon because it is necessary, but that does not mean that it has been beneficial to either the president or the country. i mean, they lose sight of the public and the public cannot get near them. has writtend reeves for new york magazine, the new york times, the new york evening news, and a contributor to pbs. he is joining us from new york, general editor of the book "the years."
8:21 am
we have divided phone lines regionally. if you are old enough to remember where you were 50 years ago, we want to hear your story as well. we have a call from gainesville, florida. good morning, steve. pleasure to be speaking with you. i have a quick comment. then i want to ask a question. it is a pleasure. host: go ahead. caller: i have a quick comment. then i wanted to ask a question. i wanted to thank c-span for educating me about president kennedy's africa policies and how instrumental it was in solving the cuban missile crisis. i also wanted to ask mr. reeves this morning, and it is wonderful to be speaking with you as well, about president
8:22 am
being uniquely positioned as the first irish catholic president and the civil rights speech, to speak about something as old as the scriptures and clear as the constitution, that we have no class system or masquerade. and how that should really be for all americans 50 years later. host: thanks for the call. it is describing part of the extraordinary 48 hours in the kennedy presidency when he gave what is called the peace speech at american university, saying perhaps we should take another look at the cold war. how did we get into it? are we really adversaries or are we all moral and what do we all care about our children and what will happen to them? and then when he came back to the white house, governor george wallace was standing in the
8:23 am
doorway at the university of alabama at which he had appointed himself provost because he wanted to block the entrance of the first two black students to attend. and it was an extraordinary american moment because our national guard unit, our state unit -- george wallace was the commander of the alabama national guard, and they were on the scene. however, the president has the power to federalize the national guard and then he becomes its commander. and kennedy decided he would do that. so the same people protecting wallace in a way then turned their guns as much as they head toward him, and he is left with his state police. kennedy, against the advice of most of his people, all of his
8:24 am
people, wanted to go on television that night to talk about what had happened. like most politicians, he had hoped he would not have to deal with civil rights. it was an issue -- everyone in a way knew something was going to happen. kennedy was kind of caught in the middle as a politician because the congress was dominated by southern democrats in those days. depended on the democratic leaders of the congress, and they kind of thought -- they did think that secretly he was on their side, that he was just a northern politician pandering to a minority group. but that minority group was beginning to come alive with young people with sit-ins and freedom writers.
8:25 am
he went on television that night and he did not have a speech written out. he had a lot of facts. and he gave one of the great speeches in american history, two within 48 hours. he said this is not a regional issue. this is not a political issue. this is a moral issue. it is about what kind of people we are and if people are equal, who among us would choose to be black? --put an extraordinary thing it but the government of a democracy on the side of a minority, and that is no small thing to the history of all ofocracy, particularly hours. the president took sides, and he chose the minority. also the night that things were happening around the
8:26 am
world. in that period, the first monk burned himself to death in saigon. in the field secretary of the naacp listened to the speech on the radio. he was traveling in mississippi .here he lived and drove home this was met there ever is. he called his wife and asked her to keep the children up because he wanted to talk to them about what the president had said and what it would mean to their lives and to all american lives. as he stepped out of his car, the sniper across the road shot him and he bled to death in front of his children. so these were events of high drama which kind of mobilized the thinking of our generation, my generation, and we did not whenthen that these events
8:27 am
not be lost in history. they are still almost current was a because there density of events in the kennedy presidency. whether it was the bay of pigs, whether it was the nuclear test and treaty. ,t was an extraordinary time and he did as well as he could, and we appreciated it. this ap telegraph moment before the shots were fired in dallas, texas. the president and mrs. kennedy wearing her chanel suit. 50lections on where bill was years ago in this tweet -- i was in seventh grade english class in middle school when the announcement came over in the school pa system. we have a call from new york, good morning. caller: good morning. mr. reeves, good to see you again. i have followed you on tv more years than i want to count.
8:28 am
but my question kind of relates to mr. kennedy in this way, and by the way, where was i when i heard about the assassination? i was sitting in my office in rochester, new york and one of my assistants came in running from a couple of blocks away and told me about it. but going back to a question for spitzer's, eliot political career has probably ended because of indiscretions. you know the history of president kennedy's indiscretions and infidelity over the years. if the american people were aware of that, would his standing in history be reduced? and should we be given mr. kennedy a pass on that part of his life?
8:29 am
host: thank you. we will get a response. guest: i think we do give him a pass on that part of his life. and far dangerous to his political ambition as a self- selected president. become his health would public today and that would eliminate him. in terms of his womanizing and infidelities, you know, rich people, and he was a rich person ago have long driveways. you cannot tell what is going on there. he was very comfortable with , and i dod with lies not think it affected his presidency and it certainly does not affect the way we think of him now. i was stunned by last week's gallup polls showing that 75% of
8:30 am
the respondents considered kennedy the greatest modern .resident and the people were between 19 and 28, and not only did they not know kennedy, their parents probably did not know him. have we forgiven him? obviously, we have. i want to share the immediate coverage, and this is the morning after, the front- page newspaper, the baltimore sun. reporting was gerald griffin. the headline -- close parallels are noted in the kennedy and lincoln deaths. he says president kennedy's seven deaths today and dallas ended a brief but brilliant chapter in american history. in a flash of an assassin's gun, the nation would be sent plunging into grief. the resident was well on his way to a triumphant reelection next
8:31 am
year. a tv journalist who passed in july of last year reflected in an event we covered on how the media dealt with the immediate story of the kennedy assassination in trying to get that story. getting it out to readers, viewers, listeners. [video clip] >> very frankly, i cannot think of a time in history when it was more important to make a decision very quickly and then hope to god that you are right. and this panel that we have with us this morning are the folks that had to make some of those decisions. and i think that history is pretty well-recorded that the decisions they made at the time were decisions that they can still live with 30 years later. i was in the decision-making business then, too. one of the things that i think that we really have to think
8:32 am
reminisce on what happened back then was the tools that we had to work with 30 years ago compared to the tools that we have to work with today. in television, of course, we had black and white film. dl cameras dh and that we hope we had the good sense to pull the filter out of when we went to take inside footage. we knew how to run the cameras. we knew had to make a tape recording. hopefully we knew how to edit film, how to write to film, and how to go on the air. ♪ a live scene at arlington national cemetery. .he colors at the gravesite let's watch for a moment.
8:33 am
one of a number of
8:34 am
ceremonies at arlington national cemetery. the only surviving member of the immediate kennedy family, jean kennedy smith, the younger sister of president john f. kennedy who served as u.s. a visitor to ireland during the clinton administration, among those on hand for the tribute in the posting of flowers and the regiment, the military regiment. the posting of the colors and the reef at the tomb of president john f. kennedy. richard reeves, the kennedy years, joining us from new york. thoughts abouty all this that we forget really but hits us, the president of the united states is not only the head of government, he is also the head of state. the equivalent of the british prime minister and the queen. the president is the physical embodiment of the american , so he had a position
8:35 am
above party and most of us respond to that, that he speaks for the nation. that is brought home to us because, as we were talking about television, he was in our living room. we thought in some way that we brings usman, which back to the death in the family reaction of millions of people. we will watch the scene from arlington cemetery and hear from andy joining us from marlborough, massachusetts. caller: good morning. i was born on march 20 1, 1960, so at the time i would have been a little over three and a half years old. , my firstemember
8:36 am
congress in memory that i ever had was being in the kitchen of our third-floor apartment and my mother crying. i remember asking her, you know, what was wrong, why was she crying, and she came out and said that it bad man or someone had shot the president. to this day i would give a million dollars to remember the questions i am sure i probably asked her as any three and a half-year-old wood. she was a strong woman and really did not cry that often, but i remember to this day her crying and that really affected her like i guess they did the rest of the nation. every time i hear of the assassination, i always think that that was the first thing that i really remember happening in my life, my mother, how hard she took it that day. that is all i have to say. thank you. host: thank you for the call.
8:37 am
i want to go back to one of the iconic photographs, november 22, the open air motorcade with the president and first lady. in front of them, nellie connally and the governor of texas john connolly who has since passed away. he became a friend of president nixon, himself running for president but losing for that bit. back in 1991, he reflected on what it was like to be in the hit i theand being sniper lee harvey also want -- lee harvey oswald. [video clip] >> we were in the motorcade going through the main part of town. the crowds were extremely enthusiastic, excited, exuberant , and just after we turned off of main street, someone turned around and said to the president , mr. president, you cannot say dallas does not love you now. he said, no, i cannot. we turned onto elm street to go
8:38 am
under the overpass, and i heard this sound that i thought was a rifle shot. i turned to look over my right shoulder because that is where the sound came from to see if i could see anything. i did not. i was in the process of turning to look over my left shoulder when i felt an impact, someone -- as if someone hit me with a closed fist in the middle of my back. , and i sawme over that i was covered with blood. frankly, i thought i had been fatally hit. my wife pull me down in her lap. she was in the jump seat on my left. i was in the gems he directly in front of the president. she pulled me down into her lap. at about that time, i heard aother shot, about that loud, snack. my eyes were open. i was conscious.
8:39 am
i saw the interior of this presidential limousine covered tissue.od and brain and i knew that the president had been fatally hit. the comments of former texas governor john connally. this week and on american history tv, we will be focusing on the kennedy assassination 50 years later. today on the c-span networks, two reflections you can watch here on c-span and also on c- span radio. 12:30 eastern time at the moment in which president kennedy was assassinated, live coverage from dealey plaza in dallas, texas. historian david mccullough will read jfk's speeches. and the u.s. naval academy's main's league level be performing. from the jfk presidential library museum in boston, starting at 2:30 because singer and songwriter james taylor among those performing. and the massachusetts governor
8:40 am
speaking and commemorating the life and legacy of president kennedy. back to your phone calls. beach from west palm florida. and richard reeves is joining us from new york. good morning. caller: good morning. down onrn your volume your tv set, please. caller: ok, good morning. i actually was in philadelphia when the president was shot, and i was going to be returning to palm. was a republican. call from, i got a mrs. rose kennedy. she asked me through an appointment agency to become her personal secretary, and i did and i stay there for two and a half years.
8:41 am
in hyannisport, we had jackie visitorsnd many of the . i have not published anything about it, but i have written extensively about these wonderful people. host: what have you written? what are your memories of rose kennedy and jacqueline kennedy? caller: rose kennedy, i would , no questionion about it. her best friend was god, and she was very careful in turning to him. there were difficult times. that, of course, was because of her time with the nuns. jacqueline kennedy was the kindest woman i ever met. she thought of other people. she was very aware of what was .oing on
8:42 am
and she did not react immediately. i think she weighed the circumstances michael and she also rock comfort in her writing .ourses rose kennedy turned to god, and too,e kennedy had faith, but she found great comfort in god's land. host: what years did you work for the kennedy family? 1963 throughber july 1966. oft: the immediate aftermath the assassination. i want you to stay on the line. i want to see if richard reeves would like to ask you a question. caller: i would very much like to be in touch with him. guest: first of all, when you
8:43 am
said cynthia from west palm beach, i have a daughter, one of my daughters is a teacher in royal palms. her name is cynthia. so i thought no, god -- caller: my god. guest: i must tell you, i am stunned. you are registered with an employee agency and rose kennedy called the agency? caller: called them, gave a false name. they checked my credentials and she said i want her to start tomorrow. i was up in new york and cannot get on an airplane flight. she said call the secret service or fbi, say she is my secretary and put her on a flight. he just laughed and said i think a better check this out. you call back in good 20 minutes and said you are on a flight. and that was my introduction to
8:44 am
power. host: cynthia, i have one other follow-up. you were with her just a month after the assassination. what do you remember about what was going on inside the family, how they were dealing with the grieving process and the suddenness of the assassination of her son? caller: the family did not come over to the big house. a lot of them did not stay there in palm beach. primarily because of the ambassador's illness, out of respect for that. the grieving that mrs. kennedy grieving very personal . she had her religion, and i would like to talk to mr. reeves wehis daughter and see what
8:45 am
can do. do you know how the president's father joseph kennedy was given the news or was not? host: i do not, but he was given the news. i believe a family member who was in charge of his medical treatment spoke to him about it. but i do not think he was told immediately. i believe it was the next day and teddy was up there and the family had come around. and it was very hard to know what his mental capacity was. i was there when president kennedy -- i am sorry, president johnson visited the ambassador. and that is a unique story. host: well, share it with us, cynthia. guest: for people who do not
8:46 am
know, the president's father had been a fable by a stroke. i guess he cannot speak except a few words. as you say, it was hard to understand how much of his mental faculties were working. caller: exactly right. if you would ask your daughter , i can leave my phone number afterwards. guest: i am going to see her tomorrow. host: i will stay -- have you stay on the one -- i will have you stay on the line and we will get your phone number. resident johnson met with the kennedy family, including president kennedy' father. you were there. caller: i am not going to tell you on the air, but it was a unique experience. from west palm beach, florida. stay on the line and we will get your phone number to pass on to
8:47 am
richard reeves. we appreciate your recollection from 50 years ago. anyway, this book with the letters in november 1963. thats in january 1964 former first lady jackie kennedy thanked the public for their support. [video clip] >> i wanted to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of messages, nearly 800,000, which my children and i have received over the past few weeks. [inaudible] these tributes are something i shall never forget. i need them. all of you who have written to the world loves him and he returned that love in
8:48 am
full measure. it is my greatest wish that all of these letters be acknowledged. they will be, but it will take a long time to do so. i know you will understand. each and every message is to be treasured, not only for my children but to the future generations to know how much our country and people of the nation loves him. will be left in his river inong the boston, massachusetts. 1964 two this friday morning, november 22, 2013. the kennedy gravesite at arlington national cemetery, the eternal flame. a photographer captured the moment. family members, including jean kennedy smith on hand, the younger sister of president kennedy, to pay tribute to our 36th president. headlines from around the country focusing on what happened in dallas.
8:49 am
this is from the detroit free press. 50 years after the kennedy assassination, a day i will never forget. the tallahassee democrat, shocked, sadness my car and disbelief is the headline. that photograph moments before lee harvey also walled fired the shots in dallas, texas. from the orange county register, the day jfk was shot. this from the richmond times dispatch, enduring mystique, jfk 50 years later. from the atlanta or no constitution, jfk, that awful day in dallas. us from joining maryland. good morning to you. caller: good morning. i was about 10 years old when i received the information at school, just devastating. since that time, it has haunted years.nsely over the so much information has come out. and i am quoting here, reading something that says perhaps there was one assassin.
8:50 am
but he did not act alone. dallas was the ideal location for such a crime. a friend of the kennedys speaking on behalf of robert and jacqueline kennedy used a back channel to get this information -- to give this information to a soviet leader. i am haunted by the house assassination committee back in 1976 coming up with kennedy was likely assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. where was senator hart yesterday -- he said that american journalism has failed to follow up on this story. what is your reaction when you hear that in lieu of the fact that, as was mentioned by mr. reeves, kennedy was trying to do a seachange and policy of looking at what had typically been folds of the cold war in light of his june 10 american
8:51 am
university speech? host: thank you for the call. richard reeves? believe any of it. , thementioned before culture of assassination, the abetted by john kennedy and his brother robert because of their of session with castro and the fact that we had killafter plot to try to the man. but it was our man who was killed. i have spent a lot of time on the site. that -- excuse me. oswald was a very strange fellow. he was a member of fair play for
8:52 am
cuba. and other organizations. , areas the danger in dallas very right wing city at the time, and it may be that the events, the kennedy's attempts to eliminate castro did motivate do not think there was any conspiracy. as we know, as walt -- oswald wanted to kill general edwin walker who was a right wing icon in the country at the time. he has been forgotten, thankfully. .ut i do think he acted alone .o many of these theories -- there is the grassy knoll theory, and if you listen to
8:53 am
the, there was a battalion of people hidden on the grassy knoll. the grassy know is like a big very smallwn, a setting. i think the conspiracy theories and whatnot of our young prince youngshut down and dying really inclined -- inclined a lot of people to think this cannot have been an individual and passion and evil. it is hard to accept. as this gentleman said, he is haunted by it. well, a lot of americans were haunted by it and have continued , atry to find a reason conspiracy, a group who did this. the mafia did this. cubans did this. communists did this. i think it is a natural reaction, and i do not think those things happened. this headline from
8:54 am
the baltimore sun -- november 23, 1953. texan who lived in russia charged in association -- assassination. it was said that lee harvey statement, no admitted nothing, and signed nothing. and this photograph from monday morning of the "new york times ruby shooting and killing lee harvey oswald two days after he allegedly killed john f. kennedy. light rain is falling here in washington, d.c., this friday morning. the scene at arlington cemetery as the crowds continued together and pay tribute to president kennedy. we have a call from massachusetts. good morning. caller: i have a question about the kennedy's trip to france. after the second world war, england gave independence to
8:55 am
india. [indiscernible] algiers, hands of vietnam. kennedy sent troops there when the french were defeated. i often wonder what happened on his trip there with jackie to france. thank you. host: richard reeves? visit,obviously, the what i think is most important, in 1954, then senator kennedy and thevietnam president of south vietnam was a catholic and had lived in the united states in new jersey and had been supported by the kennedy family. kennedy,young senator
8:56 am
rooftop bar at a the caravelle hotel, the tallest building in saigon, he was having a drink or coffee with a young american diplomat named edward coley and -- edward gallion who became the dean of school of diplomacy. as they were talking, night fell, and there were flashes across the river and explosions. kennedy said, what is that? is thelion said that vietcong. kennedy said, what is going to happen? and he was told that they are going to drive the french out, they are going to come in and beat us, too. so it was not that kennedy did not know france's role. i mean, we were against the
8:57 am
french in terms of colonialism at that time. is blamed for vietnam, but we had 1500 men there when kennedy became president. 17,000.left, it was part of it was that democratic presidents, including barack obama, are under regular attack from conservatives about being ak militarily, not strengthening the military of the country. thatennedy wanted to avoid . but i do not know if anything happened between he and the president during that trip, but kennedy knew just as much as the
8:58 am
french new about what was once french indochina in which we wanted the french out. but then to prove how tough we , and as went in there colin powell years later said in .nother context, we broke it we broke vietnam. jack kennedy, president kennedy, plots inned off on two vietnam. once in august of 1963 and then again on november 1 of 1963 when we told the general in saigon that we would not interfere if , whichied to overthrow they did immediately and killed him immediately.
8:59 am
all of this is forgotten in history largely because kennedy weeks later. as the years went on, the war became more unpopular. some journalists would say kennedy intended to get out. maybe he did. but it is a hell of a lot easier to get in then get out of situations like that, as we have learned over the years in other countries. one final thing about it, there was a book called "the ugly " which was about vietnam. and itfictionally-told was a book saying america should straighten us out and this is how we should do it. kennedy gave that book to every member of the senate and every member of the house when he was still a senator.
9:00 am
without knowledge of that part of the world, and he made a huge mistake which most people blame on johnson. ironically, johnson got all the credit for civil rights when it was kennedy who risked his political career first. host: richard reeves the general editor of the book "the kennedy years." he is a longtime reported joining us from new york. we have a few more minutes in our conversation. the headline from the hometown newspaper of president kennedy, "the boston globe." a reprint of a photograph in 1963 at harvard. in this headline -- "the news hit, a rogue wave -- sudden, thinkable -- unthinkable, savage." word spread in an instant by theer cronkite and then
9:01 am
city froze in place, to watch and mourn, for what seemed to be an endless 72-hour day. our next call is from montana. caller: i was in high school at the time. the halls were packed. but it was like a wave, a bus coming down the hall. i didn't even know what i was. i passed two rooms going away to homeroom -- we were going to leave school. teachers crying and sobbing. then i got scared. what the heck is going on? i turned to my homeroom and it was dead silent and i was watching my teacher crying. could not even stand up. so terrible, the news. then finally and stood up and said our president has been murdered. boy.then -- oh, you know, the responsibility for were back then -- i do not think anybody have the responsibility. i heard president entity had a
9:02 am
provision that would shatter the cia into one thousand pieces and put the responsibility for wars under the joint chiefs of staff. this was very key to what was going on, because he had said something like that -- not our responsibility to go in and help the vietnamese out. like in america, you have to earn your own freedom, you know? in vietnam, the tet offensive just a couple of what --ter, because of it was like, all of these leaders were getting slain after that. all of our countries leaders. like we were children of a slain father figure. at the same time, they have the warren commission down there trying to stomp this all out, it, oneess -- he was in
9:03 am
of kennedy's big enemies. they went down and saw a ruby and he asked for asylum in washington, d.c., and they said we cannot take you up there -- nobody can protect you in jail. i thought, what a ridiculous thing. and then a ruby said if you don't protect me, i will be dead and nobody will ever know what i know about a new form of government coming into takeover. host: we will stop at that point. richard reeves question my ?uest: -- richard reeves numb: well, people were and hit by this. they thought about a lot of things. this series of events was extraordinary. and for those of us of an aids, including the caller -- those of including the caller, one of the things that came out of technology is our history is becoming more and more visual.
9:04 am
one of the things that projected the care -- john kennedy in american psyche. his father was president of rko, the movie studio. so that all these films, technicolor, which was not that itmon when john kennedy -- did not exist for most people when john kennedy was a child. there was this film and video and tape record of his life almost from childhood because they were a rich family, and they built around the children. so that is why, i think, one of the reasons that we are also personally involved in this in a way we are not always with political events. again, it was the end of our innocence. that we were somehow protected from all the bad things going on host: portd
9:05 am
jefferson new york. testimony and reference of where we were when the president was assassinated. my husband was based at strategic air command at the time. being with my little one around lunchtime and i heard this from over the radio and immediately went next-door, and we were just so upset. and we couldn't believe this was happening. and then my husband was called to an alert. they were at the base at the time. and they were on high alert with strategic air command. testimony of the gentleman before me. that is the only comments i do have. one thing i would like to add, though, i recall. it seems to me about six months
9:06 am
before the assassination that kennedy was coming from a trip at thefornia -- not airbase but the national airport. and we lived right near there. bigid stop, and they had a platform about 12 feet high. and i went there to see him. i really recall what a handsome man he was. but anyway, what surprised me at the time -- and i even recall saying this to my husband -- that the security at the time. if it was there, i didn't know what that you could park your car and just walk right up the field to the tarmac. you didn't even have to enter and be checked out. the hundredsazing, of people who would, in part just like i did. but that certainly has changed, god.. -- thank avenueven pennsylvania that had been closed after the
9:07 am
bombings in oklahoma city, but that did not happen until the mid-1990's. another piece of sound, from lady bird johnson who we have been focusing on in her first lady series and in her diary explaining what happened the moment after the shots were fired, courtesy of the jfk library in boston. [video clip] >> accelerated terrifically fast. faster and faster. suddenly they put on the brakes so hard that i wondered if they were going to make it. the wheel left around the corner. we pulled up to a building. saidked up and saw it hospital. i believe that this might be what it was. kept on saying in an exciting
9:08 am
voice -- have they shot the president? no, itsomething like, can't be. we wereound to a halt, still the third car. , had to pull, men lead, guide, and hustle us out. looked back over my shoulder and pink, like aof blossom, lying in the backseat, i think it was mrs. kennedy lying over the president's body. host: the first-hand account from lady bird johnson in her audio diary. and this headline from "usa today." "the stars still visible around dallas." richard reeves?
9:09 am
guest: and they are. the one thing we have not touched on here was the event butso traumatic in itself, also there was, without knowing, i think one of the reasons so many people believe in conspiracy theories was that all we knew when it happened that this was the beginning of ii. something that was being fought in the country -- that this was the beginning of world war ii. reason -- foral the people who don't like the warren commission -- the single assassin theory. for all we know sitting in new jersey or new york or wherever we were, this was beginning of war and maybe the beginning of the end. that was the other thing -- we never faced anything like that. the united states had not been
9:10 am
innovated or at war since the war of 1812 where things happen on our soil. so, yeah, the posttraumatic stress was almost national. it was probably inevitable. the personal shock, the living room, the member of your family. but also the potential of nuclear war. tot: richard reeves, i want conclude on two points. first, the role jackie kennedy played in the days that followed. what was it? guest: brilliant. i mean, she was obviously fantastic. she had her kind of imagining of , it hastion of camelot a lot to do with the legend.
9:11 am
legend is not going to go away. you have to remember, john kennedy was and is forever young. ironically, if he had served two terms -- which i think you would have -- and then lived to a good old age, i mean, he would be being interviewed as an old man on "the today show" or something but he was never an old man. he was young. and his youth was taken away, and so was hours. host: finally, the next and final stop on that trip was austin, texas, a two-day trip that included fort worth and houston. the morning began and ft. worth and then the event in dallas. but this is a what if question -- had he lived, what could we have expected in the 1964 campaign? guest: he would have won in 1964. i mean, he was obviously
9:12 am
popular. he had an approval rating -- i have forgotten exactly what it was, but the high 70's or 80's. he loved politics. this man loves politics. he re-created the way we pick our president. he was self-selected. so was carter and now obama. others -- reagan. --and when he talked about it -- excuse me -- he thought his opponent would either be very goldwater, the senator of arizona, or governor nelson rockefeller of new york. in private what he said was, he is not going to be that tough. goldwater was too dumb to be president and rockefeller doesn't have the guts to go for. it was not a bad observation. he would have been a good political reporter. host: richard reeves, the general editor of the book "the kennedy years."
9:13 am
he is joining us from new york. appreciate your time and perspective on this 50th anniversary of his assassination. guest: thank you, steve. you are doing a wonderful job. you know, hopefully the anniversary will help bring us the same time in washington where we are splitting farther apart. we were united then, and it with a different country, and we lost -- a lot because of the assassination, too. reeves, thank you. social media today, we want to turn your attention to this tweet -- jfk elm street. time whatin real- happened 50 years ago. quoting jacqueline kennedy at the time with her spokesperson -- thursday was a wonderful day. friendliness was everything i heard it would be. if you want to follow it at twitter.com. we will continue with your calls
9:14 am
and reflections on this 50th anniversary. you are watching "washington morning,for friday november 22, 2013. we are back in a moment. >> this weekend, american history tv looks back at the assassination of jfk and its aftermath. with eyewitness accounts, scenes from the president's a trip to texas and commemorative events from daley plaza and the jfk library and museum. also, your chance to talk with authors and historians and saturday at 5:00 p.m. eastern 1950 three" co- author and 5:45 p.m., author hugh ainsworth. coverage continues sunday with lyndon johnson's november 27 address to congress and your questions live with lbj biographer. .nd a presidential historian
9:15 am
follow the 6:00 p.m. with nbc news coverage of president kennedy's state coverage. remembering jfk on american history tv, this weekend on c- span3. this weekend, booktv is live in florida for the miami book fair international. coverage kicks off saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span2 with dave barry, roy blunt, junior, and brad notes are and continues with appearances by lawrence wright, doris kearns goodwin -- and call-in with sherri think, peter baker and susan herman. sunday's coverage starts at 10:30 a.m. and includes mark halperin, bill ayers, thomas cahill and chris matthews. the miami book fair international live this weekend on booktv on c-span2. and don't forget to weigh in on our n booklet question -- what books are you reading on jfk?
9:16 am
post your thoughts anytime on our book club chat room. booktv.org/bookclub. "> "washington journal continues. host: we will watch for just a moment. a scene at arlington national cemetery, the gravesite of president john f. kennedy. host: the gravesite selected on the evening of november 22, 1963, by members of the kennedy family. and the idea of an internal flame put forth by his wife, jackie kennedy. .hat flame continues today
9:17 am
and other members of the kennedy family, including robert f kennedy, ~ 1960 eight, senator kennedy who died a few years ago and first lady jacqueline kennedy all buried at this site. c-span's continuing coverage of this 50th anniversary here on "washington journal" and through the course of the day and all weekend c-span3's american history tv. --ook at his life and legacy a look at his life and legacy. and chances for you to weigh in with calls and comments. today we are live at the jfk presidential library at 2:30 p.m. eastern time for a ceremony that will be taking place governor remarks by deval patrick and performer james taylor. headlines this friday morning. from "richmond times dispatch" -- photograph as a governor colony and the president leave love field in dallas with jackie kennedy and her now infamous pillbox hat and suit.
9:18 am
and this from the orange county register in california -- liz carpenter, a longtime aide to president johnson and lady bird johnson before her passing reflecting on the moments that led to the swearing-in of our 36th president lyndon baines johnson. [video clip] >> were you present at the swearing in? >> yes, pressed against the back wall. you felt so awful. you wanted to shrink from the scene almost. that was my feeling. and we were all called into that cabin. jolted. know, you were i was very conscious that this happened in texas. all of us were. it made things tougher. and then i flew back with them. and as we got off the plane -- well, the helicopter, on the lawn of the white house, the president said go with a lady
9:19 am
bird and help are all you can. from 1991.reflection this is the story this morning, the front page of "the washington post" and a photograph of the exact location where president kennedy was killed at the scene of the crime. the author writes -- almost numbingly cited as the end of our innocence. of the chaos and the madness and the rage of the 1960's. the first television president, his death captured on film. the assassination has been ever since the subject of excessive investigation. there is always more to learn, always more to glean what happened from 50 years ago. that is this morning from "the washington post." ons from the white house november 25 as the funeral procession made its way from 1600 pennsylvania avenue to the u.s. capitol. wayne is joining us from west
9:20 am
columbia, texas. good morning. caller: i was a high school student at bryan adams high school in dallas the day the president came to visit. the schools allowed students who could to leave to go downtown to view the motorcade. three or four of my friends got into one car and drove to downtown and parked and were standing on main street and watched the president and mrs. kennedy drive-by. the car was moving at a pretty fast clip. we are right maybe 20 minutes before the car came by. it was lunch time, so all of the office workers and people in downtown were coming down to the street to watch the president. it was a huge crowd. in fact, we were almost pushed out over the curb. we had a very good place to stand on the curb those to the street. and the crowds were very, very friendly. and we saw the president and and a few cars
9:21 am
behind was vice president johnson and mrs. johnson and senator ralph yarborough in the car. fast, justened very a few seconds. we were maybe seven or eight minutes away from delia lazo. we were in the center of town. soda motorcade was moving on down in that direction. well, as soon as it has passed, the crowds dispersed. we went to find our car. we were driving back toward our high school, which is about 10 miles from the center of town, on what was really the edge of dallas at that time. we were talking and we do not have the radio on but all of a sudden we saw five or six police cars with sirens headed toward downtown. it just made us think that something has happened. we turned on the radio and we heard the report that the shots had been fired and later that the president had been hit. to as we were getting closer our high school, it was announced that the president had
9:22 am
died. and we were at a stop sign, and there was a lady waiting at the bus. and she had seen the assignment and she came over and we told her what had happened and i'm a member she put her head on the windowsill of the car and began to cry -- i remember she put her head on the windowsill and started to cry. we went back to school. i don't know why. we checked in. everybody at school knew it but it had not been officially announced over the pa by the principal. i remember returning to my biology class where mr. newsom was the teacher and the announcement came on and everyone, of course, was gunned. there was one young girl in the classroom that just moved to dallas, and she at one point said up and hysterically dallas had murdered the president. and some of the students in the class said something to her -- i don't be really -- really remember what, but most of us were just kind of stunned and shocked. and then school let out early that day, about 2:00. city buses -- at that time,
9:23 am
dallas did not have any school buses so all the students wrote the city buses and they had to wait for the buses to get there when they released a will. host: let me ask you a question -- your first hand account, an amazing story being there. "the is a story from dallas news" website and i will paraphrase what it said. it happened in your hometown. this is what it looks like. one quote is that dallas was not responsible for the death of john f. kennedy, but was responsible for the death of lee harvey oswald. can you touch on that as somebody grew up in the dallas area? caller: well, yes. there had been some ministrations against adlai stevenson and even the vice president had been spat upon in the weeks leading up to this one they had visited dallas. thisallas did have kind of -- there was news coverage about the very extremism.
9:24 am
oswald andng about jack ruby -- yes, there was a feeling that jack ruby was a well-known figure around the dallas police station and downtown. so, i think he was able to get access to that basement area simply because he was a familiar face to the police who might have been lax in security. i think that is maybe what they are talking about, that it was just the familiarity with this figure, that he was able to get there. i guess that is what they are talking about. host: wayne, thank you very much for sharing your story from west columbia, texas, and where you were on this date 50 years ago. mary and from bellingham, washington. you are next. good morning. caller: i would like to share with you also where i was the day of the assassination. i was in west africa. i had taken a position with
9:25 am
we heardn nigeria and the news on our short wave radio. it was really difficult to believe, as our home had become an r&r for peace for volunteers which was one of kennedy's signature programs. thank you so much. host: thank you for your call. texas.h from good morning. caller: yes. i was six years old at the time of president kennedy was assassinated. i was in the first grade and i remember it vividly. like where i was sitting, how i was sitting in the classroom. it wasdows were open and sunny outside. it was not very cold. ipal came down like on the side of the school. and he had a student in his arms, her name was cynthia brown, and she had fainted.
9:26 am
and he said that resident kennedy hadresident been shot. we were stunned, the class. stewart,cher, nancy she wanted a coke and she wanted the little-- in packet. so i was tasked with running down to a filling station to get her a coke, and i can remember running back with the coke. and when we got home, we were just stunned, and we were scared. and we all sat around. thinge the rca tv with a of the bottom that if you kicked it, it would come in. and i remember, as one of your callers earlier said, that you
9:27 am
don't remember the questions he asks his mother -- i remember why wetly asking my mom were democrats. i was six. and she said that the democratic party was for poor people. and she said that the republican party was for rich people. residentaid that kennedy-- president spoke up for the poor. host: thanks for the call from texas. another tweet we are following --the library museum covers at the ceremony. we will be covering it mid-day. host: this is the scene at the u.s. capitol as well as as well as the white house and the federal buildings. ratinglying half-staff,
9:28 am
the 50th anniversary of the kennedy assassination. bangor, maine. bonnie, good morning. caller: i did not know who the kennedys were. my father did. i graduated from high school in 1960 -- i was 17, almost 18. my dad had become an insurance agent for john hancock in 1938. and he told me about an experience he had. he took a group of new agents from augusta, maine, to boston, to the john hancock building in boston. and these new agents were introduced to the executive. there was a little reception. gentleman with a cane, and it was president kennedy by the grandfather that i got to know them that way. of course, i live camelot. if you want to call it that.
9:29 am
we used to sit and watch press conferences. my dad didn't vote for him youngerhe was six years than my father and he just couldn't bring himself to vote for this boyish looking young man. my mother voted for him. get to thinking this year, the 50th anniversary coming up. many peoplet how born in 1942, as was i, had the same experience i did? on october 13, 1963. to had to be 21 back then vote. and i rushed to city hall to register to vote for the very first time i'm up because i could not -- for the first time, because i cannot wait to vote
9:30 am
for president kennedy's every election host: the scene at arlington national cemetery. on our facebook page, some of you are already waiting in. one viewer says this point -- it's go one day after the assassination, then -- host: one day after the assassination, the newly sworn in president johnson had this to say to the american people. [video clip] >> to the people of the united states. fitzgerald kennedy, 35th president of the united states, has been taken from us by an act which outrages decent men everywhere. he upheld the faith of our fathers, which is freedom for
9:31 am
all men. frontiers ofthe that faith and he backed it with the energy and courage which are the mark of the nation he led. and man of wisdom, strength, and and moved theed power of our nation in the service of a world of growing liberty and order. all love freedom will mourn his death. as he did not shrink from his responsibilities, but welcomed them. so he would have us not shrink from carrying on his work beyond this hour of national tragedy. byt: that proclamation lyndon baines johnson, sworn in as our 36th president after the assassination of president entity. and from "the new york times,"
9:32 am
the news of the week in review back then. juxtaposition of president kennedy's inaugural ceremony and that moment on air force one with lyndon johnson being sworn in by sheriff hughes in dallas, texas. martin is joining us from texas as well on the phone. good morning. caller: good morning. i am calling because of record recollections of leticia. i was a naval officer in guam and flew to the naval air station where years later i was ad marine oswald traffic controller. interestingly enough, the u2 was also operating. if you are familiar with the recallsepstein and he several events interviewing a lot of oswald's friends. he mentions in the book also the queen b, which was a famous restaurant there, which i just
9:33 am
coincidently happened to walk into and have dinner years later . i returned toy, the chicago where my home was, and purchased my first set of firm calledrom a klein sporting goods in 1962, where i later learned that lee his gun.wald purchased what i really would like to share with the audience is the fact that i also spend october , at the was a friday quonset point naval air station. kennedy happened to fly in that they when we were getting ready to leave, and as he is embarked air force one, he came down. therine guard met him, and first marine opened the breach of his gun and slipped his hand -- which was a normal inspection routine -- and kennedy paused. and everybody in the audience,
9:34 am
and listed an officer alike, was quite impressed by the fact the president did not just nonchalantly walk past the color guard. i think that was a rather interesting reflection when we later learned, of course, that oswald was a marine. but think of coincidence is there. experience the day i had lunch about a block from the tribune tower in chicago, and when it was announced by walter in the zenith television store that the president had been shot, michigan avenue, the main street in chicago's michigan avenue area was almost lows by traffic, taxis stopping -- was almost closed in traffic, taxis stopping. host: thank you for your calls and comments. we have another half-hour or so reflecting on the life and
9:35 am
legacy of john f. kennedy and the assassination. one ventricle figure -- one atdealeyhe person plaza, rico -- recording. the piece in "the washington post." he bore the burden. he died in 1970. he got it developed that afternoon. former life magazine editor describes the story of how he came across abraham and viewed this iconic film that showed the assassination of president kennedy. [video clip] >> a stringer, part-time correspondent, called me from police headquarters saying she just heard from a cop that a full film record of the assassination had been taken by a garment manufacturer who happen to go out there with his home movie camera. name began with a z and it was something
9:36 am
likezapruder. what do i do? i picked up the telephone book comm mn he was not there, a, abraham. i began calling at 5:00 and called about the -- every 15 minutes and finally a weary voice answered the phone and i ruder,ined it was mr. zap that he caught the assassination from beginning to end. it had been processed, he looked at it, and, no, i cannot come out to look at it. i pleaded with him. i knew it was something like magazine had to have. but he said he had been out riding around in the countryside for several hours. he was so disturbed and distraught by what had happened and what he had seen through the viewfinder. saw the filmand for the first time early the next morning at the same time the secret service sought.
9:37 am
>> explained that experience. what was it like for you? probably the most single dramatic moment i have ever encountered as a journalist. i got there even earlier than he said to get there -- for a young journalism student, they tell you do best to be there at 9:00 you get there at 8:00. service agent scene for the first time their catastrophic failure to protect the president. host: from an interview we conducted back in 1988. the story from "the washington post." ruder new and an instant that jfk was dead. it details his effort to obtain the thumb and -- it now belongs to the national archives at the price of several million dollars, paid for by the federal government. that story from "the washington post." solomon is joining us from colorado. the morning to you.
9:38 am
>> is this me? thank you for taking my call. i would like to talk about the smoking gun of the assassination that everybody usually does not seem to know this. kennedy was shot in 1963. there was no internet. the media got their information by two means. they put on issues and down on the street and in a few people. the telefax machine -- you way for information to come over at a snails pace. take him a tape, tape. amazingly -- you just showed on your program earlier. the next day, newspapers went to press less than 12 hours after the assassination, had tons of information on this fellow oswald. he was a patsy. he was set up. and the cia or whoever was responsible -- because we will not find out because the media will not dig enough. if the years of the right wing story dumped on us and very heavily the last two weeks, you turn on any channel -- oswald
9:39 am
did it, he acted alone. there are too many things that happened. the media had tons of information like that with osmo. today with the internet and social media we could not get that much information that fast on an assassin. within 12 hours, every media source in the country just got every little bit of information on this mysterious assassin. tell me, he was not set up. he was a patsy. the information was gathered at head of time. dumped on the media and dumped on us for 50 years and we will never find out who killed kennedy because most americans are only interested in who shark -- who shot jr. of thisu can follow all on a facebook page at facebook.com/c-span. many of you waiting in with your ago,ecollections 50 years including mary mcdonald who says a 50 years ago i was 17, high school senior and catholic school in my last class of the
9:40 am
day when i found out about the jfk assassination. host: next is rick joining us from west virginia. good morning. comments have a few about the possible conspiracies that might've been involved in the assassination of president kennedy. i personally definitely believe there was a conspiracy. but in order to look at this, you have to look at official documents. one of the key books on this is called "inside the assassination's record" by the chief analyst for military records of the assassination records review board. -- of his book he quotes a particular secret service document that i think should be mentioned. i will read from it. it says -- pardon me? host: i said, please, go ahead. true smokingf the
9:41 am
gun document was released a result of the jfk records and can be obtained by the national archives. it is reproduced as appendix 76. the purpose was to discuss house resolution 9958, a bill introduced by the house of representatives and later enacted into law. taking it a federal crime to assassinate the president of the united states. in his memo to achieve rawlings, inspector kelly, who headed the secret service's brief investigation of the assassination with the following astounding comments. "i consider this bill and similar bills to be a very dangerous piece of legislation. it would make the killing of the date, or vice president of the united states a federal offense under section 111 four title 18 usc, giving the fbi's sole jurisdiction over the investigation of an assassination. however, the fbi receives an appropriation for the protection of the president, as we are. therefore, they could be in a position of investigating their own dereliction in the event of
9:42 am
the assassination of a president or vice president occurred." me ise says -- this to another opportunity for a seven- may situation. the director of the federal bureau of investigation could bring about or allow the assassination of the president, who he either felt was a poor president or a president unacceptable to him and so direct the investigation that the complicity would be unknown. host: ok -- just going to jump in there. thank you, i appreciate you sharing. we just have a few more minutes and a lot of people who want to weigh in. thanks for adding your contribution and insights to this conversation as we go to ellen joining us from baltimore. good morning. caller: good morning. i just wanted to share my experience. i was traveling in southeast asia. i was in a hotel and bangkok, thailand. we were obviously getting the news a day later. it is not like today with
9:43 am
instagram. the news came first that the president had been shot. then the news came that he was dead. we left the hotel and drove to the airport. u.s. army transports were on the tarmac with engines running. i was 20 years old. scared to death. there was a woman traveling in andgroup who was from texas work for a congressperson. and her statement to me was -- you are from the east coast. you don't understand how much mr. kennedy was disliked in texas. i will never forget it. i flew into hong kong. all the news and everything was coming in. and again, it was a day late. inrything and hong kong --
9:44 am
hong kong was shut down. and i was approached by anyone and everyone with condolences for my country. i am now obviously a senior citizen. and i will never forget the day. i also will never be able to share the grief that my family and my country with feeling when this happened. thank you for listening to me. host: alan from baltimore, maryland. from baltimore, maryland. as the light rain falls in washington dc in the potomac as visitors place flowers at the grave site of john f. kennedy. radio 12:30 p.m. eastern time, 9:30 a.m. for those on the west coast, we will za, with to dealey plas david mccullough reading from it
9:45 am
exert of kennedy's speeches and a glee club will be performing. and later this afternoon governor deval patrick and others will gather at the jfk presidential library and museum in massachusetts. and on c-span3's american history tv a series of authors will join us and take your calls, including the co-author on"dallas, 1963" and lifeday -- on sunday, the and legacy of president lyndon johnson. all of the schedule information available on our website, www.c- span.org. our next caller joins us from fort worth, texas. caller: good morning and how are you? i would like to share my experience, where i was the day when president kennedy got assassinated. first, i got involved -- resident kennedy inspired me so in 1960 when he became president the first term, and i remember talking about the peace corps.
9:46 am
1963, on a friday, november 22, i was going downtown. this is how it started. i went to high school. there was another black school all dunbar. one of our schools was going to meet him on the highway for the president's motorcade because he came in from each and feel. we lost a bet, so we were not able to go. my friend -- we said, we were going downtown anyway. so, instead of riding the school bust is coolto because it was still segregated. instead of us riding the bus, the school bus -- we rode the city bus to go downtown. we were in line first. and we were right up on the front. i never will forget that day.
9:47 am
when he came out, he had on a navy blue suit. then in 12th grade, i was not really familiar with quality. but i think that, that suit was great pinstripe and the stripes just looks over, the great. and he had such a beautiful smile on his face. and he was not real white tone, pink, and my friend and myself, which actually shook his hand. we have been trying to find pictures. we have been trying to get the story out. i was trying to get to the chamber of commerce today -- i am retired now -- because i wanted to tell our story. we actually shook the president hand. we were colored girls, at that time. and we were so happy. we got on the bus and we went on to school. my homecoming was that saturday. we got to school at about 11:00 in time for fourth.
9:48 am
-- fourth period class but i say we were late. they said, we know you went down at -- downtown. you have to make up the period. we did not mind. we got our instruments, went down on the field with the band and practice. practiced. by the time we got back up and put our instruments up and went to lunch at they told us president kennedy had been shot. and i had shook my hand with my right hand. i told my friend, i am not going to watch my hand. we started crying. 1:00 they came on -- i think about 1:10 monday came and told us that president kennedy had passed. that day.ll forget my friend charles, he is deceased -- he played taps and rotc lowered the flag but we actually got the chance to shake the president's the hand. host: you might want to get in 's ah with the president
9:49 am
library -- they may have the photograph. caller: the hotel on 9th street. he had to walk across the street. the hotel was like -- the street went east and west and we were across the street on the side and he walked down to us. i never will forget. the police were out on top of the buildings. i was actually a part of history. and i would like to get that out. i tried to call channel 5 and everybody. forums ando some things downtown -- it is a hilton hotels now. i cannot find the pictures but i know they are somewhere. it was just amazing. his suit, the great strengths of the suit just look like silver. and mrs. kennedy was beautiful. she looked so pretty. i never will forget that day. it meant so much to me. i was going to join the peace
9:50 am
corps -- it was just amazing. i couldn't believe -- we cannot believe that two little colored girls got a chance to shake the president hand. 1964 -- and weol are having our class reunion next year. host: we have to move on. i appreciate you sharing your story with us on that morning and fort worth, texas. these iconic films we have been seeing almost to the hour 50 years ago. this is a story this morning from inside "usa today." lee harvey oswald is buried and fort worth, texas, and a trek to the grave offers closure. paul gregory is joining us live on the phone. he was a family friend of lee harvey oswald. thank you very much for being with us. guest: good morning. you meet leed harvey oswald, and why? marina, mid lee in
9:51 am
june, 19 62, shortly after they returned from russia. two fort worth. father, who to my was born in russia and taught russian in the fort worth public library to get a certificate saying he was fluent in russian. he gave my father the address where he was staying, namely robert, his brother's house. my father and i went over and we ina and met lee and mar it was agreed i would go regularly to their house, say, two evenings a week to study russian with marina. that is how we met. host: 50 years ago this morning, where were you? guest: i was at the university of oklahoma attending a class. the class was interrupted with the news. i went to the student union to watch television.
9:52 am
p.m., they said they had a suspect. they announced the suspect as being brought in. i immediately saw it was lee harvey oswald. quite a shock. host: did he go by lee harvey oswald or lee oswald? guest: lee. the next morning you were questioned by the secret service. when and why question my guest: at that time they had moved to dallas. i saw them on november 22, 1962. fact, we introduced them to our russian friends in dallas, which caused him to move to dallas. eventually to get work at the texas school depository. i am getting off track here. what was the question?
9:53 am
host: the questioning you received by the secret service the next day, november 23. guest: there were very few people who knew lee and marina at that time. they were newcomers. and probably my father and i were the only outsiders who knew rina say june to october of 1962. i was designated as a known oswald.e of lee harvey so, the secret service came to me around 11:00 in the morning in norman, oklahoma and took me to oklahoma city for questioning. about theme ask you theory -- there are many people who believe lee harvey oswald did not act alone. what is your belief? did he say anything and the 48 hours between his arrest and his own murder by jack ruby regarding the assassination? not of course there, but my father was there translating for marina, so i
9:54 am
would not have personal knowledge of that. i remarked to the secret service 23eady at 11:00 on november that i seriously doubted that he would be involved in a conspiracy. because of i were to organize a conspiracy, the last person i would recruit was lee. i never really doubted the fact he did it and did it alone. and my reasons are that he had a motive, as far as i can see. he had the means. he was very wiley and manipulative and much smarter than we think. and we know that he had the soul of a killer because in april he had attempted to assassinate general edmund walker. so, you really have to look at oswald himself really to answer the question of the conspiracy. host: paul gregory, where did lee harvey oswald get the rifle?
9:55 am
guest: he got it through a mail- box andtfit, using a po an alias. host: why do you think jack ruby killed him? guest: i have no idea. i can only really speak about my own observations of lee and marina and the fact that i did 22,see them after november 1962. will look at these photographs of lee harvey oswald. in a phrase, describing. what was he like? your own interactions with lee every oswald. spend 50would say i hours together with lee and marina in their home, shopping, etc. he is not someone you would notice and a crowd. he was the kid who sat on the back row in the school room. was -- he spoke good
9:56 am
grammatical english with a few lapses. butpoke excellent russian not grammatical. he had a high level of energy. he loved to read. hisoved to talk about political philosophy, which was radical marxism. someone who felt he was underappreciated by the world. he had failed at virtually everything he had done. he was working as a welder for minimum wage. and he was meant to do great things. and he was determined to do great things. host: finally, paul gregory, at the time he had a four month old. where is the child today and is marina oswald still alive? guest: marina is alive. from dallas. far she is protected from the press
9:57 am
and the curious by her husband. with lee haveers gone on to have successful careers. she has a son with her second husband, who is the one who keeps the press away from her. she is very much alive and well. host: paul gregory joining us from houston, professor of economics at the university of houston and wrote a piece in "the new york times" -- lee harvey oswald was my friend. it is available online. thank you so much for sharing your story with us. we have a minute or two left before we go live to the house of representatives. shirley from san diego. are you with us? leave, go ahead. caller: hi, i was 17 years old. i was always a news junkie and watching the current coverage --
9:58 am
when arrested, oswald said to the cameras i am just a patsy when he was asked about killing kennedy. within a short period of time, ruby was allowed to go up and shoot oswald. the president had just been killed and they had loud in that closely. jack ruby died in jail -- he screams they are killing me. memory is there were a lot of other people shortly after this will also guide under suspicious circumstances -- a reporter, marilyn monroe, and lots of other people. thank you so much. host: appreciate the call. we go next to lori joining us from medford, oregon. caller: thanks for taking my call. five then, so i admit i do not remember it. i know there are photos of me as a toddler with my proud catholic parents and wearing a giant button saying if i were 201i would vote for jfk. lure has it that i
9:59 am
was the person on sunday when my father came home from church saying to him, daddy, they shot the man who shot the president. overcome with all the sadness and grief in the world. it turned out to be true. that wecuriosity is know from being told repeatedly that the only film of the events was the zapruder film. it seems unusual to me that it was a presidential visit, and the vice president himself was from texas -- i know i am speaking from the modern perspective, but i would have assumed that it was reasonable to have more, at least local television coverage. film of thely actual assassination. there is a lot of film of him arriving. there are pool reporters anytime the president travels -- there is constant coverage or at least
10:00 am
recording for the networks. we have to stop there because we only have a minute left there we in very to get ann quickly. ocean city, new jersey. quick comment. you have about 30 seconds. be brief. caller: i was born in 1958, i turned five. i do remember. i was in kindergarten. we had to go home. our father announced the president had died. my mother was very upset. she was quiet. she was a schoolteacher. she understood the psychology of third graders that she taught. she put the set on and let us children absorb what we could at that age. she did not want -- host: we have to stop you. thank you so much for the culprit we take you to the floor of the house. thank you for being with us as we reflect on the 50th anniversary of jfk and anybody that. the house in a pro forma session.

161 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on